Smart Talk – Shut out of the housing market

Dan Durden and Erin Wolfe


What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, August 9, 2018: 

What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, housing values plummeted, and homes were repossessed in unprecedented numbers because of the economic recession. Today, a new housing crisis has developed with home buyers shut out of the market because of low inventory and sky-high prices. NPR reports that new home construction nationwide is at its slowest pace since the 1980s.  

Finding available and affordable housing is especially problematic among minority groups. Affordable rental properties are also hard to find and may offer no viable option. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition released an annual report, “Out of Reach 2018.”  They concluded that “there is no place in the U.S. where someone working full-time and earning minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom rental home at the national average fair market rent.” 

NPR is airing a series this week called Shut Out of The Housing Market, looking at the problem nationwide. Why is this happening during a booming economy? Who is affected and what can be done to increase inventory at an affordable price? 

On Thursday, Smart Talk will look at the housing market in Pennsylvania with Todd Umbenhauer, President, Pennsylvania Association of Realtors and Daniel Durden, CEO, Pennsylvania Builders Association Also in the studio is Erin Wolfe, Associate Broker, Wolfe & Company Realtors


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Spring Cleaning Made Easy

The weather is warming and the sun is finally (most days) shining, which means it’s time to think about your home’s spring maintenance needs. It’s also a good time to work on some larger projects now that there is more daylight and the threat of winter weather is behind us.

Here’s a checklist to spruce up your home this spring…

  1. Inspect driveways and walkways. Repair cracks and chips to fix walking hazards. Your association may require you to replace damaged sidewalks as well.
  2. Prevent mosquitos. Look for and get rid of standing water that may have pooled over the winter. Removing a place for mosquitos to breed will minimize your chances of contracting any of the nasty viruses they carry with them.
  3. Wash your windows. It can be a tedious job but once it’s done, your home will feel instantly fresh and ready for the summer sun to pour in.
  4. Clean gutters and downspouts. Removing leaves and debris helps the rain water to flow freely, preventing leaks and other issues throughout your home.
  5. Clean your fireplace. After a cold winter, if you used your wood fireplace frequently, it’s time to clean out the soot and ash. You’ll also want to hire a professional chimney sweep to give it a once over; then you’ll be ready when the chill hits the air again.
  6. Check screen doors and windows. Don’t let the bugs find refuge in your home this spring and summer. Examine your screens for holes and damage; even a tiny tear can allow pesky pests inside.

This article was adapted from: You can find even more spring maintenance ideas there!

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Termite Issues Can be a Real {Estate} Problem

Whether you’re buying, selling or a current home owner, knowing how to spot, prevent and treat termites is very important. All structures are susceptible to these wood destroyers but the most vulnerable are homes with wood to ground contact and buried siding.

This time of year, you can look for swarmers, which will look similar to ants with wings. If you see these, you definitely need to call in a professional immediately. Another sign is mud tubes in wooden structures or actual damage to the wood itself.

The most important thing you can do is have your home inspected by a professional and then treated by a professional if you do have a termite problem. Termite eradication is definitely not a DIY project.

Article was adapted from:

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Mortgage Mess-Ups to Avoid

Applying for a mortgage and getting approved for your dream home is not easy task. It can be hard to sleep, worrying whether you got the right paperwork together, whether you’re working with the right lender and if your savings account is going to hold up under the strain of down payments and closing costs. But if you avoid these 6 mistakes, you’re sure to make the process a little less stressful.

  1. Waiting for the magic 20% down payment. Talk to your lender now and discuss what a lower down payment may mean for your budget. If you can make it work, it may be worth acting now, before interest rates get too high.
  2. Not weighing your lender options. A good rule of thumb is to meet with three mortgage lenders to see if you can get even a slightly better rate. The savings could really add up over a 30-year mortgage.
  3. Only getting pre-qualified. Instead, get pre-approved. You don’t want to miss out on your dream house because you don’t have the necessary paperwork ready. And in this tough market, some sellers are only accepting offers from pre-approved buyers.
  4. Moving money to different accounts. While you’re going through the process of having a lender and then an underwriter look at your finances, just keep your hands off of your money. This makes the approval process much easier on everyone.
  5. Applying for new or more credit. You don’t want to look desperate for money, and applying for too much credit at once can make a lender feel uneasy about approving you for a mortgage.
  6. Job hopping. Lenders are looking for at least two years of consistent income when pre-approving your loan and changing jobs during the lending process can throw up some red flags. Try to wait if at all possible until you’ve signed on the dotted line; and if you can’t, call your lender immediately.

This article has been adapted from:

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